Sunday, 31 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Department of Income Tax of Maungdaw has been arbitrarily taxing the local villagers of Maungdaw Township since last week, said a village elder from Naribill Village of Maungdaw Township on condition of anonymity.

Authorities of the department taxed villagers who have tin roofing and timber flooring in their houses in the village. They also collected tax from the shopkeepers who have shops at the market.

If a house is worth 100,000 kyat, the members of the income tax authority charged the owner of the house 15,000 kyat. The authorities tax at the rate of 15,000 kyat per 100,000 kyat of value.

In addition, on January 16, a ferryman named Dil Mohamed of Nari Bill Village of Maungdaw Township was taxed 15,000 kyat per one hundred thousand as he at one time owned five ferry boats in 2007 that he purchased at an auction. Altogether, he was taxed 3 million kyat.

According to a village elder, Mohamed had money at the time he purchased the boats, but at present, he has no money. Therefore, he has to pay the tax by selling his properties and the ornaments of his wife.

Most of the villagers who could previously afford roofing of tin sheets and timber floorings now are facing acute financial difficulties because of the military junta’s discrimination against the Rohingya community. As a result, villagers are finding it difficult to pay the new taxes to the government.

“The authorities of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) have been collecting money from the Rohingya villagers for all different reasons. How much will the Rohingya people have to pay to the authorities?” asked a local businessman who declined to be named.

It is a great discrimination against the Rohingya people that the poor villagers are forced to pay additional taxes to the income tax department. It is necessary for the rich to pay taxes, but it is not right to demand so much from the poor villagers, said a local elder.